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3.05 – Individual – Staff Interactions


Individual-staff interactions refers to any language, actions, discipline, rules, order, decision-making and other interactions exchanged between staff and individuals during routine daily experiences.  These interactions are viewed as critical component of what determines the quality of an individual’s life.  The goal of all staff interactions with individuals at Open Door is to promote:

  • Respect and support
  • Independence
  • Self-management
  • Decision-making and choice
  • Respecting privacy and rights of individuals served



A preliminary assessment will be conducted of each individual to enable staff to familiarize themselves with the person’s needs.  The “cultural” background of each individual will be considered in developing a supportive environment for that person.   

Program Design

All formal and informal program practices will be designed to encourage daily decision-making within emphasis on self-management and advocacy. Open Door is committed to a person-centered approach to services.

Resident Rights
  • It is the responsibility of each staff member of Open Door to be familiar with and abide by Ohio Section 5123.62 Bill of Rights.
  • Right to Refuse:  Each individual has the right to refuse a recommended program or treatment.  The right to refuse includes, but is not limited to participation in training, behavior plans, prescribed medications and diets.
  • Responsibility:  When an individual recommended treatment or services, the interdisciplinary team must evaluate:
    • Anticipated consequences and method of evaluation
    • Acceptable alternatives
    • Effect the refusal may have on other individuals living there
    • The level of informed consent/dissent and the need for guardianships
    • If Open Door can continue to provide services to the individual
Resident Code of Conduct

Refer to Policy 3.04.

Staff Conduct toward Individuals

It is accepted that interactions with individuals can greatly influence an individual’s reactions to specific situations. It is recognized that a great percentage of individual reactions of anger or aggression are caused by inappropriate staff interactions.  Open Door staff are trained to be sensitive to resident reactions by:

  1. Recognizing illness and medication side-effects
  2. Respecting individuals likes and dislikes
  3. Building trust and confidence (i.e. respecting confidentiality, not talking about individual in front of others and making criticism constructive and in private)
  4. Respecting each individuals personal space; this includes avoiding hugging, kissing, etc.  Staff should encourage handshakes and appropriate interactions.
  5. Maintain a polite tone of voice
  6. Presenting alternatives for decision-making and allowing refusals
  7. Avoiding “Win-Lose” situations (pursing negotiated settlements)
  8. Recognizing “cues” that serve as precursors of anger or hostility
  9. Altering their own behavior to match the needs and leaning style of the individual
  10. Referring individuals to the proper grievance procedure
  11. Ensuring that they do not share information about individuals publicly and respecting their rights to privacy. 
Preventative Strategies for Avoiding Conflict

Both formal and informal plans designed to prevent anger and aggression would include:

  • Increased access to activities of status or responsibilities.
  • Changing the setting or schedule of situations which have historically been an issue (i.e. meals, activities, sleeping, noise, etc.)
  • Increasing options or opportunities for choice.
  • Teaching and rewarding acceptable alternative behavior.
  • Staff training and sharing communications at staff meetings
  • Increasing activities to reduce boredom
  • Designing contractual agreements
  • Formal and inform counseling or other means of increasing opportunities for communication
Principles for Handling Conflict

When an individual refuses to cooperate, becomes angry, threatening or combative, staff will follow these general principles:

  • Speak in a calm, matter-of-fact tone of voice. DO NOT YELL
  • Avoid threatening or intimidating comments or actions.
  • If the individual has a history of becoming aggressive, position individual, or with some object (i.e. piece of furniture) between themselves and the individual.
  • Follow the prescribed Behavior Plan consistently.
  • Utilize Approved Crisis Prevention techniques per training.
Hostile, Aggressive and other Inappropriate Individual Conduct

See Policy 4.15 Behavior Support Planning.  Utilize Crisis Prevention techniques as per training.

Allegations of staff abuse and other misconduct

See Policy 3.07 – Major Unusual Incidents.

Last Revised: 2/23/24

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